Food Allergies FAQs

Food Allergies FAQs

In honor of Allergy Awareness Month, we’re sharing some food allergy FAQs. We hope you find the information below helpful.

What exactly is a food allergy?

A food allergy is a medical condition in which exposure to a food triggers a harmful immune response. The immune response, called an allergic reaction, occurs because the immune system attacks proteins in the food that are normally harmless. The proteins that trigger the reaction are called allergens.

What are the most common food allergens?

Milk, eggs, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish and sesame.

How many people have food allergies?

There are 32 million Americans with food allergies, including 5.6 million children under age 18.

What is the difference between a food intolerance and a food allergy?

Food Intolerance:

  • Symptoms range from gas and bloating to rashes or lethargy.
  • Small amounts of triggering food may be eaten without incident.
  • Can be caused by enzyme deficiencies, irritable bowel syndrome, a sensitivity to food additives or recurring stress.

Food Allergy:

  • Occurs when an individual has an allergic reaction to proteins in a food.
  • Causes an immune system reaction that can affect multiple organs.
  • Reactions can be severe or life-threatening in cases such as anaphylaxis.
    Is there a cure or treatments?

    While there is no cure for food allergies, there are treatment options including allergy induction programs around the country including a program at the Southern California Food Allergy institute in Long Beach, CA and a program at UCLA. For more information on treatments, clinical trials, and therapies, please visit FARE’s website.

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